Cover photo for Helen Stavig's Obituary
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1944 Helen 2020

Helen Stavig

September 6, 1944 — November 25, 2020

Helen Victoria Stavig was born September 6, 1944, in Webster, SD, to Julius and Clara (Ronshaugen) Stavig. She grew up on a farm near Roslyn, SD, graduating from Roslyn High School and then going on to South Dakota State University, where she enrolled as an engineering physics major. As one of only three female engineering students at the time, she was heralded in a local newspaper article as "still able to sew her own clothes!" She went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and was subsequently hired by Boeing in Seattle to be trained as a computer programmer in an era when young men engineering graduates were being drafted for service in Viet Nam.

She married David Taylor in 1967, which led to her living in El Paso, TX, while David was stationed at Fort Bliss. While in El Paso she earned a master's degree in Education from the University of Texas at El Paso and discovered her passion for teaching as she began teaching math at El Paso Community College. In 1978 she moved to the Denver, CO area, where she lived until she passed. Her career path in Denver included computer programmer/analyst positions at multiple institutions including Arapahoe County, Liberty Banking, Central Bank, Citicorp Information Services, Diners Club, Unipac, and Visa. Once again she indulged her passion for teaching, becoming an adjunct professor of math and computer science at Regis University, a position she held for multiple years.

In 1982 she married Michael Mason, and Michael and she enjoyed dozens of travel adventures through the years. From exploring the back roads of Colorado in their early years together to numerous sailing trips on catamarans in the Caribbean decades later, Helen's thirst for knowledge and adventure was insatiable. She had an unusually large range of interests. In addition to her expertise in her career field, she loved history, literature, science, all things related to nature, movies, live theater, gardening, and much to the delight of her friends and family, gourmet cooking. She also loved dogs, particularly her dear fox terrier Annie and Annie's predecessors.

She was an outstanding employee, repeatedly entrusted with the most complex and critical programming assignments and providing guidance and support to her coworkers. As a teacher she was patient and compassionate, always striving to help her students excel. Her generous and caring nature permeated all aspects of her life and benefitted not only her family and friends, but community organizations and national charities.

As dementia began to impact her life, she fought hard against it and still enjoyed getting briefed on local and national current events. Watching nature shows, documentaries and historical movies kept her interest long into the progression of the disease. Her caregivers, first at HighPointe in Denver and then at Brookdale Meridian in Englewood, found her to be a patient and appreciative resident and were almost as heartbroken as her family when she passed on November 25, 2020.

Her grieving family includes her husband, Michael Mason; her stepson Jerry Mason, his wife Dr. Stacey Mason, and their children Maslin and Caleb of Lakewood, CO; her sister, Irene Anderson of Centennial, CO; and her niece Renata Bernard and family, husband Elroy and children Kira and Quincy, of Jamaica, NY. A celebration of life will be scheduled when it is safe for groups to gather. Memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer's Association at www.alz.org.

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